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OTP/ICC issues statement on Libya

The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (OTP/ICC) issued a statement on Libya following the adoption by the Security Council of Resolution 1970(2011) (see previous post). It remains to be seen what will be the response of Libya to this statement and whether it will comply with the duty to cooperate imposed upon it by the Security Council acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter (Article 41, measures not involving the use of armed force). The referral seems to raise issues relating to State cooperation, since a considerable number of States have not ratified the ICC Statute. Notably, the Security Council did recognize in its resolution that States not party to the ICC Statute had no such obligations under the Statute. Nevertheless, the Security Council urged all States and concerned regional and other international organizations to cooperate fully with the Court and the Prosecutor.

The text of the statement issued by the  OTP/ICC is provided in full below.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1970 (2011) provides jurisdiction to the International Criminal Court over the situation in Libya.

The Office of the Prosecutor has to now decide whether an investigation into alleged crimes against humanity committed in Libya since 15 February 2011 should be opened.

The Office is currently assessing allegations of widespread or systematic attacks against the civilian population as well as other additional legal requisites established by the Rome Statute. The Office is liaising with relevant organisations including the Arab League, the African Union, the UN Council on Human Rights, the UN High Commission for Human Rights and the UN Secretariat, as well as with States, in order to collect information required.

The Office of the Prosecutor is interested in receiving footage and images to confirm the alleged crimes. Additionally the Office is liaising with Libyan officials and army officers to receive information about the identity of authorities with command and control over the organizations allegedly involved in the crimes.

The Office of the Prosecutor has to act impartially. The next step will be to decide whether to open an investigation, and eventually collect evidence and request an arrest warrant against those identified as the most responsible. The judges will then decide based on the evidence.  In accordance with its mandate to end impunity to contribute to the prevention of future crimes, the Office will act without delay. 

“Information suggests that forces loyal to President Muammar Qadhafi are attacking civilians in Libya” said Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo. “This could constitute crimes against humanity and must stop. The Office will act swiftly and impartially. There will be no impunity for leaders involved in the commission of crimes.”

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